Trumbull offers free tuition

Nicole Stempak

Scholarships are available for laid-off workers

Jacqui Thorn went to learn about Kent State Trumbull Campus’ scholarship program because her grandparents told her to.

“My grandparents said it’s something I need to do to figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life,” said the Newton Falls resident.

About 60 people attended an information session to learn how to make a fresh start Thursday evening at Trumbull campus.

The campus is offering the scholarship program to new students who have been laid off within the past three months because of the poor state of the economy. The scholarship can be applied to the cost of tuition up to 12 credit hours.

Applicants must provide documentation that the layoff was from a full-time position since Oct. 1, 2008, and the result of the economy – not the fault of the employee. Documentation can be in the form of a letter from the applicant’s former company or proof of unemployment benefits. Applicants cannot have attended any college or university within the past three years.

“We’re not trying to lure students from one institution to another,” Trumbull Campus Dean Wanda Thomas said.

Checklist for

Getting Your Free Tuition:

&bull Apply for admission to the Trumbull Campus online at

&bull Take the COMPASS placement test to determine what level of English and math course the applicant can enroll in.

&bull Meet with an academic adviser to schedule courses, discuss goals and resolve concerns.

&bull Complete a 2008-2009 FAFSA, based on your 2007 taxes, available online at

&bull Submit a copy of your high school transcript by Friday, Feb. 27.

“We’re trying to get the person who has truly been laid off and help them transition into a new career pathway,” she said.

Randi Schneider, director of Enrollment Management at Trumbull, said the campus has four gas wells on campus, the funds from which are put into a scholarship account.

Thomas explained that the scholarship isn’t really free; the gas well funds are paying tuition rather than the students.

Schneider said they have been saving for several years and Thomas decided to use the funds now to help as many people as possible in the community.

Thomas said the program’s duration depends on the funds and on class availability. The program can continue only as long as there are funds available, and the number of students is determined by the number of seats remaining.

“The limiting factor is the space available in courses,” she said.

President Lester Lefton applauded Thomas’ creativity to fund the program, but said there are no plans for a similar program to come to the Kent campus. As for the other campuses, Lefton said it’s a decision each branch would have to make.

“Each of the branch campuses is an RCM (Responsibility Center Management) unit, and they have to balance their own budget in their own way,” he said. At the Kent campus, “we don’t have the capacity, plus we’re moving into the RCM environment.

“It would have to be done on a college by college decision. If I did it centrally, I would basically be passing on the cost to (College of Communication and Information), who may not want to do it. I’d rather lower tuition than do that.”

Thorn said she plans to take some general courses this semester and possibly continue in the fall, even if she has to pay.

“Once someone gives you the incentive to get started, you don’t want it to go to waste,” she said.

Contact administration reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].